Minister, district chairperson clash over Shs540m

State minister for Micro Finance, Mr Haruna Kasolo. FILE PHOTO

KYOTERA. A row has erupted between the State minister for Micro Finance, Mr Haruna Kasolo and Kyotera District chairperson Patrick Kintu Kisekkulo, over allocation of Shs540m .
Whereas Mr Kisekkulo claims the money is meant to facilitate ongoing construction of district headquarters, the minister insists it should be spent on other projects in the sub-counties of Kasaali, Kirumba, Kabira, Nabigasa and Kalisizo Rural.

The priority projects, according to Mr Kasolo, include the construction of a maternity ward at Nabigasa Health Centre III, which is allocated Shs140m, construction of Kalisizo Rural Sub-county headquarters (Shs100m), repairing a bridge at Kyojja swamp (Shs100m), construction of Kabira roadside market (Shs100m) and construction of Kasaali roadside market (Shs100m).
“The Ministry of Finance, where Mr Kasolo falls, wrote to our Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Fred Kalyesubula, requesting him to divert funds that were earlier allocated to construct our administration block to activities in different sub-counties, which I say is totally wrong,” Mr Kisekkulo said during an interview on Thursday.

The bickering between the minister and the district chairperson has since delayed the passing of the district budget, with a section of councillors saying the projects being fronted by the minister were not included in the draft budget.
The Public Finance Management Act, 2015, requires the district councils to pass their budgets by May 31. By press time, it was still unclear when the district budget would be passed.

“We can’t pass a budget which we cannot defend. We have documents indicating that the money allocated to those respective sub- counties was to complete our administration block,” Ms Agnes Namusiitwa, a councillor representing Kakuuto Sub-county, said on Thursday.
Mr Joseph Balikuddembe, a councillor representing Kyotera Town Council, questioned the criteria the minister used to select the projects to fund, insisting all the beneficiary sub-counties are within his constituency. Mr Kasolo also doubles as MP for Kyotera County.

“If the minister’s intention is help Kyotera District as a whole, how come only sub-counties in Kyotera County, which he represents in Parliament, are the ones selected to get funds?” he asked.
However, Mr Kasolo said: “I lobbied for that money [Shs540m] from other sources to help my people. I plan to help the whole district without discrimination. Those councillors who refused to pass the budget are simply being influenced by the district chairperson to cast me in bad light,” he said.
Both Mr Kasolo and Mr Kisekkulo have been at loggerheads since January when information leaked that the latter plans to contest against the former in the 2021 parliamentary elections.

In 2018, Kyotera District embarked on construction of a three storeyed administration block, which was estimated to cost Shs1.5b.
However, construction works have stalled since February after Owen Construction Company Ltd, the firm contracted to do the work, run out of funds.
Mr Sulaiman Ssamula, the Owen Construction Company Ltd managing director, said he only received Shs300m from the district yet he has so far spent close to Shs1b.
Kyotera District is among the new districts that became operational on July 1, 2017. It was carved out of Rakai District.

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